10 Unexpected Signs Of Early Onset Dementia That Everyone Should Know About
One of the sad facts of life is that getting older, unfortunately, comes with the possibility of declining health and many different diseases. One of the scariest is Alzheimer's disease, a common and severe form of dementia that results in memory loss, confusion, and decline in cognitive abilities. When many people think of Alzheimer's, they think of those later in life, assuming it's something only older people can go through. That's not the case: early onset Alzheimer's affects people under the age of 65. While it's not incredibly common, up the five percent of the more than five million Americans with Alzheimer's have early onset dementia. While many of the signs seem obvious — memory loss and confusion — there are also some unexpected signs of early onset dementia that everyone should know about.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, catching it early can be helpful during treatments. Unfortunately, it's easy to miss the signs of early onset dementia, especially when it happens at a young age and you aren't looking for it. Younger-onset dementia can occur to people who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, and doctors still do not understand what causes the disease.
It's easy to dismiss symptoms like memory loss, general confusion, difficulty with directions, or losing things quite often as just someone being flighty or ditzy, which is even more true if they aren't happening all the time. But if someone is experiencing unexplained memory loss in any way, it's time to head to the doctor. There are some more symptoms you should also be aware of:
1. You Feel Depressed
A common symptom of dementia that isn't often talked about is depression. Many patients can feel sad and discouraged because of what is going on with them: they're starting to feel more dependent on others, more confused, and less sure of themselves. It is, understandably, going to impact their self-esteem and self-worth, leaving them showing depressive symptoms.
2. You're Anxious All The Time
As symptoms of early onset dementia get worse, it's not uncommon for patients to experience a lot more anxiety. This happens when they start to be more conscious of what's happening and the difficulties they are having, and can make them feel anxious about their situation. That anxiety can turn into anxiety about more than just the disease.
3. You Find it Difficult To Concentrate On Movies or Books
Dementia isn't just about losing your memory. Those who suffer from early onset dementia will also find it difficult to concentrate like they once did. They'll find it hard to stay focused on, say, a movie or reading a book, even if these were things they once really enjoyed. If you notice yourself, or someone else, acting this way out of nowhere, it could be cause for concern.
4. You Can't Think Of The Word You Want To Use
Many people who suffer from early onset dementia will experience, anomie, or difficulty finding the right word for something. If you often forget the word for something, don't panic unless it never comes back to you and happens often. Another sign is using long phrases to explain just about anything, which often don't really make sense, or contain a lot of vague vocabulary (words like "thing," "it," etc.).
5. You Hate Change
It's not very surprising that people suffering from dementia have trouble accepting change. They get scared and anxious about what is happening to them, and crave comfort. They don't want to try something new, they just want their routine, which can often make them feel more comfortable. You might notice that someone with early onset dementia never wants to try anything new and is completely freaked out by the idea of changing things up.
6. You Can Never Make A Decision On Anything
You might notice that someone who is early onset dementia has trouble making any kind of decision. While indecisiveness is not always a sign of dementia, it's often difficult for patients to plan, organize, and agree to something. Dementia affects the ability to reason and focus, meaning it's harder to come to a decision on something.
7. You Just Don't Feel like Doing Anything
Sadly, many people who suffer from early onset dementia will feel a lot of apathy — it's actually a common early sign of the disease. This person might show a loss of interest in things they typically enjoy and love. They might not want to go out and do things.
8. You Have No Desire To Be Social
Similarly, someone with dementia will not really have the desire to be social. The Alzheimer's Association says, "A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced."
9. You're Easily Frustrated
It's not hard to see why someone with dementia would feel easily frustrated — after all, they feel confused and have trouble remembering even simple things, and they're finding that their behavior and personality is also changing. That's not easy to deal with!
10. You Feel Suspicious Of Others For No Real Reason
Among the many behavioral changes that come with dementia, one unexpected one is that they feel suspicious of others. This could be because they're often confused and have trouble grasping a situation. It could also be because they don't fully remember the person they're around or the situation they're in.